Recently Published CFS Studies
February and March 2008
Here’s a sampling of CFS studies that have been published since your last CFIDSLink. In peer-reviewed publications ranging from the European Journal of Applied Physiology to the journal Dermatology, these studies cover topics from distant healing to human parvovirus B19.
Effectiveness of Distant Healing for Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Randomised Controlled Partially Blinded Trial
Investigators from the University of Northampton in the UK studied the effects of distant healing—a form of spiritual healing—in treating CFS. Practitioners of this technique often cite its effectiveness for treating chronic conditions. Two of the most common distant healing practices are offering prayers for those who are ill and using forms of meditation where the practitioner holds a compassionate intention to relieve the suffering of another.
In this study CFS patients were recruited primarily from private practices, and 409 of these CFS patients were allocated to groups of 3 healers from a pool of 462 healers. Half of the patients were aware of the treatment being tested and half were not. Over the next six months, changes in mental and physical states were monitored using standard assessment tools, but there were no statistically viable differences in post-treatment scores between the treated and untreated groups. Investigators concluded that distant healing appears to have no statistically significant effect on mental and physical health in patients with CFS, although the expectation of improvement did improve outcome in some cases.
Walach H, Bosch H, Lewith G, Naumann J, Schwarzer B, Falk S, Kohls N, Haraldsson E, Wiesendanger H, Nordmann A, Tomasson H, Prescott P, Bucher HC. Psychother Psychosom 2008 Feb 14;77(3):158-166 [Epub ahead of print]
Specific Correlations Between Muscle Oxidative Stress and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Working Hypothesis.
Investigators from Italy recently published a paper in the Journal of Muscle Research and Cell Motility that suggests the possible role of skeletal muscle oxidative imbalance in the genesis of CFS. Oxidative stress is a form of cellular damage that can impede the cell’s function. Ongoing oxidative imbalance can cause some of the features of CFS.
Looking at previous CFS studies on oxidative stress and energy conversion, the investigators believe that evidence exists to support the presence of specific critical points in the muscle that are affected and may play a role in the illness.
Fulle S, Pietrangelo T, Mancinelli R, Saggini R, Fanò G. J Muscle Res Cell Motil 2008 Feb 15 [Epub ahead of print]
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome after Human Parvovirus B19 Infection without Persistent Viremia
Researchers from the Department of Dermatology at Ogaki Municipal Hospital in Ogaki City, Japan, set out to determine how often CFS appears after human parvovirus B19 infection and whether prolonged presence of B19 in the blood (viremia) and/or antibody production contribute to the development of CFS. The researchers examined 210 people after B19 infection, and B19 DNA and antibodies were tested in the blood of 38 patients including 3 with CFS.
The test results indicated that B19 DNA disappeared after four to five months in all patients tested. Additionally antibody titers to B19 became reduced after two months in all 38 patients. But complement levels—a biochemical process that helps clear pathogens from an organism—persistently decreased in a greater proportion of patients with ongoing CFS-like symptoms. The investigators conclude that B19 infection could potentially lead to CFS in some people and may result from aspects other than prolonged presence of B19 DNA in the blood.
Seishima M, Mizutani Y, Shibuya Y, Arakawa C. Dermatology 2008 Feb 15;216(4):341-346 [Epub ahead of print]
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